Most expensive cities

Scandinavian  cities step up the ranking of the most expensive in the world due to the improved strength of the Euro against most currencies, according to the latest Cost of Living report.

Photo: Anita Reiman© Text: Travel Trade Outbound Scandinavia

Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki are in the top 10.

Reporting the cost of consumer goods and services in locations around the world for over 45 years, global mobility specialist, ECA International (ECA) captured the data in late February and early March of this year (2020), when many countries were in the midst of battling the first Covid-19 peak, or about to be hit by it. Central London enters the top 20 in Europe and the top 100 in the world for the first time in four years (94th), overtaking several European cities including Antwerp, Strasbourg, Lyon and Luxembourg City, as well as most major cities listed in Australia.

ECA International’s Cost of Living Survey compares a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by international assignees in more than 480 locations worldwide. The survey helps businesses to ensure that their employees’ spending power is maintained when they are sent on international assignments.

Switzerland continues to be one of the most expensive countries in the world, dominating four of the top five most expensive cities. An example of the price disparity, an average medium cappuccino at a café in Zurich costs GBP 4.80, compared to GBP 2.84 in Central London, while a ‘takeaway meal’, such as a burger, fries and a drink, costs GBP 11.36 in Zurich compared to GBP 6.24 in Central London.

Global Top 20 Most Expensive Locations for Expatriates

Location Country 2020 Ranking
Ashgabat Turkmenistan 1
Zurich Switzerland 2
Geneva Switzerland 3
Basel Switzerland 4
Bern Switzerland 5
Hong Kong Hong Kong 6
Tokyo Japan 7
Tel Aviv Israel 8
Jerusalem Israel 9
Yokohama Israel 10
Harare Zimbabwe 11
Osaka Japan 12
Nagoya Japan 13
Singapore Singapore 14
Macau Macau 15
Manhattan NY United States of America 16
Seoul Korea Republic 17
Oslo Norway 18
Shanghai China 19
Honolulu HI United States of America 20

European Top 20 Most Expensive Locations for Expatriates

Zurich Switzerland 1
Geneva Switzerland 2
Basel Switzerland 3
Bern Switzerland 4
Oslo Norway 5
Stavanger Norway 6
Copenhagen Denmark 7
Helsinki Finland 8
Stockholm Sweden 9
Paris France 10
Gothenburg Sweden 11
Vienna Austria 12
Brussels Belgium 13
Dublin Irish Republic 14
Amsterdam Netherlands 15
Central London United Kingdom 16
Antwerp Belgium 17
The Hague Netherlands 18
Rotterdam Netherlands 19
Strasbourg France 20


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